I peer down the dark, narrow channel and start counting my breaths. one. two. three. four. Relaxation replaces anxiety, and I ready myself for the descent. I can’t believe I’m about to enter a pyramid. The wrinkled guard smiles with missing teeth and motions that it’s time to begin. Deep breath. Step forward.
The shaft is just large enough for me to fit with my arms bent at my sides like a mime in an invisible box. It’s not quite straight down so I can’t descend like a ladder. I settle into a rhythm of lowering one leg at a time to the next steel bar, following with each hand, my forehead nearly touching the ceiling. After five minutes the channel opens into a chamber. Steady now, feet. Here we go.
Weight hangs in the air: of millions of tonnes of rock above me, of so many generations passing through in the 4500 years since this was built. My body buzzes with the energy of the place, the feeling of two magnets repelling cycling through my chest and stomach. I curl up my legs on the floor of the chamber and gaze up at the steep triangle walls, the hand-width steps growing higher and narrower until they reach a point.
My eyes close. I drop into a deep meditation, picturing a pyramid around my own body growing until it maps the larger one around me. My heart stills. My spirit sings.
Murmerings of my new friends entering the chamber wakes me. It’s time to go.